A Word on Solera
Many bars practise single-cask ageing where cocktails are placed in the barrel and left to mature until it is deemed time to harvest it. The solera system, which Manhattan excels in, is a more complex system of barrel ageing that blends old and new pulls to achieve consistency.
Head bartender Cedric Mendoza explains: “Think fractional aging. Originally started and still being practiced today with sherries to maintain consistency over different vintages, the solera system of ageing, developed by the Spanish and Portuguese, is blending at its best. Here’s how it works: wines, or in Manhattan’s case, cocktails, are stored in barrels. Fractions of the contents of the oldest barrels are combined with pulls from newer barrels to create a cohesive house blend. Over the years, you’ll find a multitude of maturity levels within the solera system as the spirit or cocktail that is removed from the oldest cask is replaced with the cocktail in the second oldest cask. The result? A sophisticated blend of young and old that brings depth, character, complexity and roundness into your glass. The length of time for ageing at each level of the barrels is around two weeks. So you would start off first with two weeks, followed by another two weeks, and then yet another two weeks.”